Jennifer Ng’andu is the interim managing director – program at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), focusing on eliminating some of the most potent threats to a Culture of Health for children, their families, and communities. She helps carry out grantmaking activities to advance social and environmental changes that help individuals and communities engage in healthy practices and stave off obesity. She is specializing in the Foundation’s work to build out a violence prevention agenda that addresses root causes and promotes children’s social emotional development, mental wellness, and resiliency.
Ng’andu comes to RWJF from the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), where she oversaw efforts to advance the organization’s Health and Civil Rights Policy Projects. In her decade there she worked alongside other policy experts and advocates to advance policy change and the social well-being of Latino and immigrant workers and families. She led organizational efforts to insert Latino priorities into the historic Affordable Care Act. Ng’andu contributed to landmark social policies campaigns that restored health insurance options to more than 250,000 uninsured children and pregnant women, when Congress restored $1 billion of public health insurance to legal immigrant children and expectant mothers. In 2012, she broadened her work on equity to lead the organization’s efforts on civil rights pursuing equal opportunities and promoting nondiscrimination in key frontiers of civil rights including juvenile justice, telecommunications, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender equality.
Ng’andu has been recognized for these past achievements. She has received the 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust Leadership in Advocacy Award. She was also recognized in 2013 by Families USA, receiving the Consumer Health Advocate of the Year Award for her work advancing Latino health priorities. Ng’andu has published numerous reports and articles and a spectrum of radio, print, and television media credits including The New York Times, BBC, and The Washington Post.
Beyond her work at the Foundation, Ng’andu has also engaged in numerous volunteer opportunities to improve health and health care. Ng’andu has been appointed by the Government of Mexico to the Advisory Board of Ventanillas de Salud, a cooperative program to promote preventive health access for Mexican nationals in the United States. She is also on the Advisory board of the California State University at Long Beach’s Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation, and Leadership Training. She has previous positions serving as vice president of the board of directors of the Herndon Alliance and volunteering for board of directors and the council of consumers of the National Physicians Alliance.
Ng’andu has also worked at the National Immigration Law Center, helping to advance the rights of low-income immigrants. Ms. Ng’andu holds a BS in psychology from Duke University. She was born in Lusaka, Zambia and hails from southeastern Connecticut.